4-8-4s and Mallets

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, March 31, 2018 8:47 PM

Thanks for that MidlandMike. Quite the haunting picture. 

When you actually encounter scenes like this for real it is very stunning. Makes you say out loud " This is just wrong, what where they thinking?"

I understand few would agree with me stating that but I believe somehow there will be hell to pay one day. 

Perhaps with the entrenched .1%, vulture capitalism, the opioid crisis, the rust belt, declining towns and cities and personal data mining we already are. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, March 31, 2018 9:11 PM

I saw the DSS&A ore dock in operation about 50 years ago, but I would guess that it closed down about 10 years after that.  I think taconite was just such a more efficent commodity that the LS&I dock could handle it all.  The old dock will never be needed again, and even if it was, it would be replaced by a low profile conveyor belt.  Even the Escanaba dock closed recently.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, March 31, 2018 9:29 PM

I believe in lots of competition, not predatory and greedy mega giants. 

Solid smaller to medium size, each with its own style, preferences, philosophies, some regional in nature, some not. Building, growing, innovating and sustaining the business solidly and slowly for the benefit of all, not merger and acquisitions, raiding the treasury, cronyism. 

Probably too much wishful thinking, every system has a dark side, its the human condition and nature of things.

Also I do know better than most that Mining Companies do reach the end of their reserves and the ball game is over...but...that is why they MUST have a substantial exploration budget in order to stay in business. Get to diamond drilling....the next great find is always within sight of your own mine.

I do not view the DSS&A as a failure either. It was an incredible pioneer railroad, built and run under extreme hard conditions that created untold wealth for your nation and built fortunes, only elsewhere. Minneapolis, Chicago, New York.

 The fact that CN owns a substantial amount of its trackage today speaks for itself. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, March 31, 2018 10:13 PM

To update my earlier post, the DSS&A ore dock was taken out of service in 1971.  Also the dock was short, only 900' in an age of 1000 footers.  Active docks are 1200' or more.

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Posted by GT Mills on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 11:31 AM

I'm new here.  I just started looking up facts and stuff a couple of months ago, and am just returning to MRR after a 50 year hiatus.  Forgive me if I make errors in citing facts, but I think I have this all correct.  

BTW: my love for my first HO locomotive purchase, a Rivarossi 2-8-8-2 that I bought with yard care money I'd saved up when I was 11, is what kept the spark of MRR alive in me all of these decades, to return me to the hobby once again.  I have a very definite bias for the NW's "Chesapeake".  Also, the C&O ran through my backyard in Northville, Michigan, so I also have a bias for Chessie's "Allegheny".  That said...

Growing up just 30 minutes from Dearborn and Greenfield Village/ Henry Ford Museum, I visited the great Allegheny C&O beast on inumerable occasions.  The pilot was to me the most awesome vantage, there is simply nothing else like it ever built.  Like looking up at an eagle’s nest, atop a mountain peak. 

When living in the WDC area in the late 80's into the early 90's I very much enjoyed viewing the B&O Museum's example 2-6-6-6 since it was outdoors and you could get a much better overview and perspective of it.  I also visited the 4-8-8-4 Big Boy in Cheyenne in 1981 during a visit to my brother's place out there, so have first-hand experience with being in the presence of two of the three top locomotives ever built, missing only the Y6b N&W 2-8-8-2 which could outgun anything while still being the most miserly in fuel consumption.  However, I came close.  I did get to personally enjoy a NS 2-6-6-2 running out of Alexandria, VA heading south on a commemorative run in the early 90's!  THAT was an experience, let me tell you.   

The Y6b N&W, that last iteration of brute, eastern, steam power, could come very close in keeping up with the Big Boy at speed, yet pulled an unmatched 152,000 pounds tractive, far outstripping the much heavier Alco beasties by some 12%. 

If it comes to a bet, all-in-all my money would be on the 2-6-6-6 with it's 7,500 HP and 67" drivers, which makes the 5600 HP on 68" drivers of Big Boy pale by comparison no matter what else you crunch for numbers.  The craftsmanship of Lima was excellent, as was Alco, Baldwin and NW.  There is no real argument that the Lima and other locos could ever not keep up to the Alcos in running gear and hence speed.  

Any thought of locos being purpose built and therefore limited to their home tracks is, well, nonsense.  How many hundreds of the N&W designed 2-8-8-2 Chesapeakes were built not just by N&W, but by many other works as USRA’s for western roads, southern roads, eastern and northern roads?  

Here's how it shakes out.  

2-6-6-6:  Most powerful at 7,498 HP, definitely makes this the #1 loco ever built.  But with only 110,000 lbs tractive effort, it falls behind both Big Boy and Chessie.  Huge drivers yield excellent top-end performance though, and for top speed+ raw power nothing can beat it.  With 65 built, it ranks #2 for success.  

2-8-8-2: #1 Most successful by far and away, only the 2-6-6-2 can give it a run in this category for articulateds, and it was the most universally used of our top three, with something like 200+ built. #1 in pulling power @ 152,000 lbs tractive force simple (45 MPH) and 5600 HP, and 110,00 compound (25 MPH) 5200 HP.  My personal favorite, it was the slowest - even in simple - of the three with its 58" drivers.  

4-8-8-4: Only 20 built, so the least commercially successful of the top three.  It may have used more fuel than even the Allegheny, and definitely far more than the Chesapeakes.  Impressive tractive effort gives it the #2 spot at 135,000 lbs, but only 5300 HP means it would definitely run out of "gas" well before the Allegheny at higher speeds, and falls behind both the Chesapeake as well as the Allegheny in combined tractive effort and HP. Although Big Boy earns lower rankings in every category it has somehow captured the attention and imagination of rail fans everywhere, and is arguably the most beautifully designed loco of the top three.  It gets a #1 crowd pleaser honorable mention.   

Back to discussing running locos east AND west.  2-8-8-2's could and did run east and west, very successfully.  The same 2-8-8-4's were run by B&O as well as NP, and SP in end-swapped cab fwds. 

By the time N&W had perfected the Chesapeake class Y 2-8-8-2's to beat out the Alco Big Boys, diesel was already replacing them; and there was no need to ever run the  incredible Allegheny, a 1948 design, either.  There simply wasn't enough traffic demand after the war out west to justify adding another type to the articulated rosters out there. 

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 4:18 PM

You have fallen for a certain amount of propaganda.

I recommend you look at the N&W 2-6-6-4 (one of which, 1218, is what you saw running in the early '90s) as a locomotive infinitely superior to any 2-8-8-2, and the direct design predecessor of the Alleghenies.  The last few of these built had the high-speed rods, and some of the balancing, common to the J-class 4-8-4s, and while this was done to reduce augment at reasonable fast-freight speed it would likely have given an achievable top speed higher than any other class of articulated locomotive.

Where the later Y class were successful was in maintenance and availability, rather than performance at speed.  Even with the booster valve you'd be hard pressed to run one faster than about 40mph, and at that point the horsepower curve of a NYC Hudson was already above what the class Y could produce.  I have argued that it is possible to build a Y-class locomotive easily capable of 50+mph, but it requires a sophistication in steam-circuit design that N&W did not deem necessary before going first to STEs and then diesels.  There is not a 'Chesapeake' built that would be capable of producing 150K+ of tractive effort simple at 45mph with a boiler carried entirely above the running gear.

The Big Boys were intended to run in a completely different service from the Ys, one in which much higher road speed combined with truly awful fuel quality.  As with the PRR Q2 they were really more a wartime engine than a necessary piece of design, but there are current 'missions' on UP that a Big Boy can meet as well as a Jabelmann Challenger can -- modern lightweight intermodal stack consists being an interesting example.

Both the Ys and the Big Boys suffered from carrying their grates at relatively high level; this limited the combustion-plume length they could develop even with the maximum geometrical chamber dimensions.  Contrast this with the boiler on the A class (or the modified Q2 boiler that was to be tested to supplant it for 7600hp+) and you will recognize the great advantage of deep firebox structure.  Add Cunningham circulators and Snyder combustion-air preheaters and you will quickly arrive at a locomotive that can reach about any practical speed its suspension can accommodate, if speed is your concern.

Likely someone will start discussing the stillborn Y7 simple-expansion locomotive.  Yes, this would have been interesting.  No, it wouldn't have been 'better enough' than the As -- that's why even after the proposed train-length-limit legislation that stopped its development had died, the design wasn't taken up again with or without contemporary improvements.  What limits a single-unit steam locomotive to the vicinity of 8000hp is something comparatively simple: water rate.  You may note that the most sophisticated use of auxiliary tenders in this country was in conjunction with class A operation (it's described in King's book) and represents a special case rather than 'range extension' of the usual kind ... it is usually not very cost-effective to haul those quantities of water around unless there is more than usual money to be made out of the idea.

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Posted by BigJim on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 6:19 PM

Overmod
rather than performance at speed.  Even with the booster valve you'd be hard pressed to run one faster than about 40mph


That is where you are quite wrong!

First, absolutely NOBODY on the N&W ever referred to a Y class as a "Chesapeake"! They were twenty-one hundreds or twenty hundreds! So, the two of you need to nip that bit of nomenclature in the bud right now!

Second, the "Improved Y5/6 class was known to be able to run well over 40 mph where track profile permitted it. I asked one steam engineer that I worked with how fast they would run and he said 65-68 mph. However, he also said that 63 mph was about as fast as you wanted to run one as they got a little shakey over that! Now, since at least one of you have King's Class A book, he describes a Y6b running on the Bristol line at 70 mph.

The so called "booster valve" was used at slow speed in compound mode as the addition of live steam to the receiver provided for more power. This was more economical than running in simple, but, less economical than running in just compound.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 10:02 PM

BigJim
First, absolutely NOBODY on the N&W ever referred to a Y class as a "Chesapeake"! They were twenty-one hundreds or twenty hundreds! So, the two of you need to nip that bit of nomenclature in the bud right now!

That works for me.  I usually call them by "Y" and their subclass and not by number, but I never worked for N&W.  "Chesapeake" they certainly aren't, no matter how the pre-Whyte naming conventions get extended.

Second, the "Improved Y5/6 class was known to be able to run well over 40 mph where track profile permitted it. I asked one steam engineer that I worked with how fast they would run and he said 65-68 mph.

That is thermodynamically impossible even with a Y6b at its highest state of refinement, and mechanically unlikely for the LP engine as balanced, either in simple or compound.  I have looked for documented film of any high-speed running, and I continue to look in the archives for dynamometer-car records of high speed (perhaps in connection with some of the booster valve testing) but absent actual proof of that high speed, having run the numbers and understood the principles, I remain strongly unconvinced.

What the booster valve actually did, at least in the 'production version', was not supply 'more power'; it provided reheat to the exhaust steam to keep it from both wall and nucleate condensation in the LP cylinders.  (The intent was not to use live steam admission to increase mass flow and MEP during the LP stroke; that would be throwing some money away...).  You would expect the effect of this to be comparable to good Schmidt superheating (or Chapelon LP reheat) and in fact I think that was observed.  It was yet another good piece of thinking from the Virginia Episcopalians.  And it was FAR more economical than 'running in just compound' as even a moment's reflection on the thermodynamics will tell you.

Now, there is nothing per se about the class Y chassis that does not allow it to be run at higher speed, if you have the suspension and guiding worked out (much more damping is required in lateral compliance and in the hinging between the engines, for example) and arrange for the correct balance between HP and LP thrust at speed.  The catch is that you have to balance the thrust over the HP and LP stroke as the cyclic rate becomes comparatively high (with the low drivers and restricted counterweighting provision) and for this you need modulated steam admission at throttle pressure (or above), not just aggregate reheat flow.  This might have been difficult even in the mid-Fifties, but the systems in the Bailey Meter Co. setup on the TE-1 were capable of driving it effectively (and of course the task is almost trivial today).  

The other half of the equation is to implement much lower-mass running gear, especially on the forward engine, perhaps with some of the late-Forties tinkering to reduce inertial yaw on the forward engine and provide the same flat table-plate arrangement for the waffle-grate nozzle that worked so well on the A to keep perturbing forces in the equalization system. 

Now, since at least one of you have King's Class A book, he describes a Y6b running on the Bristol line at 70 mph.

I remember King's book as saying 70mph was a relatively high speed for the A class running in the Shenandoah Valley ... and I believe, but can't remember for sure, that he anticipated relatively high running speed for the simple Y7 had it been built.  But I can not remember him saying, in the book or at any other time, that a Y6 could reach such a speed. 

The thing I would like to see documented is the top speed under test of the last model of Class A, with the Timken rods and better balancing.  I am still looking to see whether the latest deep-pocket three-axis lead truck could provide enough lateral compliance to make near-zero-overbalance on the mains (as Glaze provided on the Js) practical on the forward engine of an A (and, by extension, a Y) -- personally, I think it could and I think it did on the last As.  That would make the lack of ATC on class As a great shame.  I am still miserable that one of those engines was not saved ... and have carefully ensured that the work done on rod design and production for the T1 Trust project will be applicable to ... certain other classes ... should the time and desire come.

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 11:33 PM

GT MillsS---What in the heck is all this N&W 'Chesapeake' stuff? Did I miss something over the past 50 years? 

By the way..welcome to Classic Trains Forum.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 19, 2018 5:00 AM

Miningman
What in the heck is all this N&W 'Chesapeake' stuff?

'Chesapeake' in some circles is the generic name for a 2-8-8-2, as 'Northern' is for a 4-8-4 or 'Santa Fe' for a 2-10-2.  As noted in a recent post on one of these forums, prior to the proposal of Whyte coding at the turn of the century these names were a principal generic identifier of wheel arrangement, and as with the naming of physical elements the "originator" of a given wheel arrangement was often recognized in choosing the accepted name.

It does have to be said that relatively few aficionados of N&W steam power in my very long experience use the numerical class designations in preference to letter classes, just as for B&O.  How much of this is a railfan 'thing' I can't say.  But calling a N&W Y by the 'Chesapeake' name is a solecism equivalent to calling a NYC J1e a "Baltic", no matter how much historically-correct argument you could muster for it. 

I was referring to 'Chesapeake' strictly in its context as the generic name for the 2-8-8-2 wheel arrangement, and did not sufficiently define terms.

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Posted by BigJim on Thursday, April 19, 2018 7:15 AM

Overmod
That is thermodynamically impossible even with a Y6b at its highest state of refinement, and mechanically unlikely for the LP engine as balanced, either in simple or compound.  I have looked for documented film of any high-speed running, and I continue to look in the archives for dynamometer-car records of high speed (perhaps in connection with some of the booster valve testing) but absent actual proof of that high speed, having run the numbers and understood the principles, I remain strongly unconvinced.


So, you wouldn't believe the first hand account from someone who actually did the deed, who told you face to face, eye to eye? Well then, I can't help you there. 

"thermodynamically impossible"...Ha! I trust what my former colleague told me over your flawed scientific figures!

I must make one correction.
Mr.King's narrative of Y6b #2200 running 70 mph is written in his book "USRA 2-8-8-2 Series Classic Power 3A" (*Note that this is the larger revised edition), not, in his "Class A: Mercedes Of Steam" as I first stated.

The narrative begins on page 99 and runs through page 106.

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